With gross domestic product (GDP) growing by 2.3 percent, surpassing the milestone of 100 trillion yuan (15.42 trillion U.S. dollars), China's economic data in 2020 released Monday attests to the resilience and vitality of the world's second largest economy.
As the world's only major economy to post positive growth in the pandemic-shadowed year 2020, China's better-than-expected economic performance represents a major victory in the global fight against the pathogen, pumping a dose of stimulants into the global economy struggling to recover from COVID-19.
ANOTHER HUGE STEP
With a stunning 6.5-percent growth in the fourth quarter (Q4), China's economy expanded 2.3 percent in 2020, reaching 101.6 trillion yuan (15.66 trillion dollars), according to data from the country's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Over 20 years starting from 2000, when the country's GDP just reached 10 trillion yuan (1.54 trillion dollars), the Chinese economy expanded 10 times, Ning Jizhe, head of the NBS, said at a press conference.
Favorable factors including China's resilient industrial system, massive market potential and technology prowess have all contributed to the expectation-beating growth.
As released at the press conference, China's job market remained stable in 2020, with the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas standing at 5.6 percent, which was below the government's annual target of around 6 percent, the data showed.
Value-added industrial output surged 7.1 percent year on year in Q4, accelerating by 1.3 percentage points from Q3 last year. For the whole year, the indicator went up 2.8 percent year on year.
The fixed-asset investment saw a steady recovery, climbing 2.9 percent year on year in 2020, with investment in high-tech industries, healthcare and education surging faster than average.
Affected by the epidemic, retail sales of consumer goods fell 3.9 percent year on year in 2020. The indicator rebounded notably in recent months, rising 4.6 percent year on year in Q4, 3.7 percentage points higher than that in Q3.
The hard-earned growth marked another milestone China has reached in its development, meaning that China's economic strength, scientific and technological strength, and comprehensive national strength have all ascended another huge step, according to Ning.
BOUNCING BACK FROM RECESSION
As the first major country emerging from the pandemic, China also suffered a heavy blow to its economy.
During the early stage of the outbreak, the Chinese economy came to a grinding halt as the country went great lengths to reduce infections and save lives, pressing the pause button on almost all its economic activities.
In the first quarter of 2020, the Chinese economy registered a rare 6.8-percent contraction.
With resolute and swift actions, China soon put the pandemic largely under control within its borders, setting the stage for three consecutive quarters of rebound, which gathered more steam following a raft of government measures including more fiscal spending, tax relief, and cuts in lending rates and banks' reserve requirements.
"China's nationwide concerted efforts and strong resilience in both successfully fighting against COVID-19 as well as in boosting economic recovery in 2020, have delivered tremendous results," said Jochen Goller, chief of BMW Group Region China.
"China's GDP growth in 2020 is higher than I expected. In the fourth quarter, in particular, consumption recovered smoothly and economic growth momentum was quite strong," said Kiyoyuki Seguchi, research director at Japan's Canon Institute for Global Studies.
Looking ahead, China's policymakers have vowed to keep its macro policies consistent, stable and sustainable, which, as many analysts said, would ensure a sustained economic recovery of the country in the future.
RESILIENT LOCOMOTIVE OF GLOBAL ECONOMY
As the world's only major economy emerging victorious in its fight for an economic rebound, China has offered the pandemic-shadowed world a precious ray of hope for a soon recovery, proving itself still a resilient locomotive of the global economy.
Just As Max Zenglein, chief economist of the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin, pointed out, "the Chinese economic development in 2020 certainly offered one of the few bright spots in the world."
"The growth of China's economy is playing an even bigger and stronger role in driving the world economy," Seguchi said, predicting that China would still be a huge boost to the world economy in the future, which also benefits Japanese companies' production and exports.
The latest World Economic Outlook report released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts that China will contribute more than one-third of global economic growth in 2021.
Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected the Chinese economy to expand by 7.9 percent in 2021 as economic activities continued to normalize and domestic COVID-19 outbreaks remain under control.
China's economic growth is remarkable, said Gustavo Girado, director of postgraduate studies in contemporary China at the Argentine National University of Lanus.
While some economies tend to close themselves off during the crisis, China chooses to open up and cooperate globally, again demonstrating its willingness to help the global economy recover from the pandemic, he said.
"Now, it is not the world that is promoting China's economic growth, but China is leading the world's growth," said Jeon Byeong-seo, director at the South Korean Institute of Chinese Economic and Financial Research. Enditem